THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Customs officials at the Thiruvananthapuram airport have to
increasingly stay on alert, as smugglers find innovative ways to disguise gold.
The latest example is that of gold worth more than Rs 7.5 lakh seized at the airport on Wednesday.
According to a Customs official, 325 grams of gold was shaped into hooks and rings which were
sewn into undergarments. The carrier has been identified as Mohammed Gani from Kasargod. He
had arrived in Thiruvananthapuram airport at 5 am, in a Qatar Airways flight which flew from Dubai
The baggage had not drawn any attention at the airports in Dubai and Qatar. A Customs official
said that this could be because at the check-in areas, the focus is more on checking for explosives
or anything that could potentially disrupt the flight.
“Mohammed would not have been intercepted at Thiruvananthapuram International Airport either,
had the operator manning the x-ray baggage scanner not grown suspicious of the tiny metal
hooks,” said the official.
“Close examination revealed that this was gold with silver-coloured coating. There were gold hooks
and rings. Some of the undergarments were also padded with gold,” added the official.
Examining Mohammed’s passport, they noticed that he had flown from Dubai several times, in
2013. Most of those flights had ended in Mumbai and Ahmedabad. He was interrogated further for
details about his accomplices and other links in the smuggling chain, if any. The officials are yet to
reveal anything related to this.
This year, the city airport officials have thwarted five cases of gold smuggling and each time,
smugglers have employed novel ways to conceal gold. A Sri Lankan national was caught for hiding
370 gm gold in his mouth. Gold biscuits weighing a kilogram was found wrapped inside black
insulation tape, which was kept inside a newspaper on the food tray. In another foiled bid, officials
had recovered 7 kilograms of gold safely kept in a cavity near the wash basin. Customs data
shows that 34.37 kilograms of gold was brought into the Thiruvananthapuram airport in 2013.
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